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Washington State University

EMBA Speakers

Conference Moderators

Chip Hunter

Dean, Carson College of Business

Larry W. (Chip) Hunter was appointed Dean of Washington State University’s Carson College of Business in 2015. He leads the college in its mission to create insight and opportunity through the study of business and the power of our community, for Washington state and the world.

Hunter is committed to building educational opportunities that create upward mobility for students and strengthen the Pacific Northwest’s economy. He believes that such a premier education ought to be available to all students willing and able to do the work expected. Under his leadership, the Carson College aims to be “the model school of business for tomorrow’s land-grant university.”

An award-winning scholar specializing in human resources and industrial relations, Hunter’s research spans industrial settings, with a focus on managing workplaces and human resources to promote organizational goals and positive outcomes for workers.

Prior to his WSU appointment, Hunter served as the Senior Associate Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Pyle-Bascom Professorship in Leadership. Before joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002, he spent eight years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania.

Hunter earned his doctorate in industrial relations and human resource management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his master’s in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University, and his bachelor’s in business at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Cheryl Oliver

Program Director, Graduate and Online Programs, Carson College of Business

Cheryl Oliver, Associate Dean for Professional Programs in the Carson College of Business, is a member of the Dean’s leadership team. She leads the highly recognized and respected online MBA, Executive MBA and online undergraduate programs in business at Washington State University.

These programs are designed to deliver on the WSU mission at scale, providing value to all stakeholders regardless of their physical location. Additionally, she has invested in providing brand differentiating opportunities for veterans, military members, and their families to pursue their MBA, ensuring support commensurate with their experience and needs.

This portfolio of programs is consistently recognized as top in the country for quality programming, outstanding faculty and student success. Cheryl began her career in the K-8 education system, earning her undergraduate degree in elementary education with an emphasis in K-8 teaching.

She holds a Master’s in Education Administration with an emphasis in higher education administration and student affairs as well as a Master’s in Business Administration. Ms. Oliver is active in the region supporting programs that emphasize access to education and wellness.

Key Note Speaker

Laurie Nichols

Business Succession Coach

Laurie Nichols empowers founders, leaders and high-potential successors to engage with purpose, urgency, AND empathy to lay a foundation for the design and execution of a succession strategy that results in a mutually rewarding experience for all.

Laurie brings over 30 years of professional service firm leadership experience to her work:

  • CPA and bank auditor
  • 20+ years as managing partner in an independent investment management firm
  • Lead role in multiple transactions: management buy-out, founder succession, and sale and transition of the investment firm.

After the sale of her business, she followed her passion to support business owners and leaders with crafting meaningful lives and legacies.

Laurie is a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Conversational Intelligence Coach and a Registered Life Planner.

EMBA Alumni Panel

Karli Barich

Executive Director
Foreign Language for Youth

Karli Barich helped grow Foreign Language for Youth, a nonprofit language education organization, from a few local classes to one of the largest language schools in the Pacific Northwest. The program teaches Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese students to K-8 students in 240 schools across the United States. She is also a cofounder and advisor for Ektos, an energy management system company that services thousands of restaurants throughout the United States and Canada. She earned her bachelor’s in Spanish from the University of Washington and her Executive MBA from WSU.

Brian Lewis

Leader, Logistics Center of Excellence

Brian Lewis supports Cisco’s service logistics organization by leading a team of data scientists, data analysists, and program managers focused on lean operations and improving business supply chains and tools. Over the past six years, he has had multiple roles at Cisco, including senior manager, strategic lead – global customer asset recovery, and operations manager. Lewis is also a retired Marine lieutenant colonel tank officer and war planner. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University, two advanced degrees in military history and operational planning, and an Executive MBA from WSU.

Hazelmae Overturf

Senior Manager, Learning and Development – HR

Hazelmae Overturf manages a team of professionals who design and deliver enterprise-wide training and learning program initiatives at BECU, a not-for-profit credit union—the largest credit union in Washington state and third largest in the nation. Prior to joining BECU, Overturf taught English in South Korea after completing her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Pacific Lutheran University. She also is board member for Reading Partners – Seattle, a nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in diverse Seattle neighborhoods. She recently earned her Executive MBA from WSU.

Aaron Wheeler

Information Technology Director
Suquamish Tribe

Aaron Wheeler leads a team of technicians and engineers who support and maintain the IT systems for the nearly 400 Suquamish Tribe government employees. He recently worked with Representative Drew Hansen of the 23rd Legislative District on House Bill 1336, which allows local and tribal entities to sell telecommunications services directly to the public. He is also a certified Red Cross First Aid/AED instructor and serves on the TribalNet Government and Member Services advisory board. Wheeler earned his bachelor’s degree in information technology administrative management from Central Washington University and an Executive MBA from WSU in 2020.